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There's nothing like an anniversary to inspire a trip down memory lane, but after 20 years of such milestones, the effect tends to be even more pronounced. No wonder, then, that the occasion of Linux's 20th birthday this year has provoked so much reflection. Numerous Linux fans, of course, were busy kicking off celebrations of the event last week at the Linux Foundation's Collaboration Summit in San Francisco. It was some key comments by the foundation's own Jim Zemlin, however, that caused so many to pause and consider.
Why is the Linux community fixated on taking over the desktop? It's never made sense to me. The results of being on loads of desktops will be:
1- increased security issues
2- a dumbed down OS
3- a commercialized desktop that will come out of the box with more software / blotware / advertisements and unnecessary software then any of us wants.
4- the online support/community will get worse.
why? why would we want that? Right now we Linux desktop users are in the sweet spot. We have our choice of great GUI interfaces, hardware support for every vendor and we have a knowledgeable user community.
"Linux has come to dominate almost every category of computing, with the exception of the desktop."
Well, with Windows servers outselling Linux more than 3 to 1, it is hard to say that Linux dominates there, either. Of course when you remove desktops and servers from the equation, there is very little left that creates any software revenues for anyone.
That seems to reduce the argument to be that Linux has come to dominate every category of computing except the ones that make money. And that may very well be the case although there is a question as to just what Android is. Is it a proprietary product controlled by Google or is it Linux? It isn't really in the general purpose computer OS category, either, so there are a lot of questions as to what the Linux Foundation actual could claim.
The desktop challenge began because we shared a common interaction in computing. There is not a right way to compute. It is no longer either or situation. Many people are checking all of the above: desktop, handheld, pad, set-top streamer.
We used to predict that the OS would become irrelevant. We really meant that the UI would become irrelevant. Users traversing their different devices may have accidentally become more sophisticated in their approach. This will give a real opportunity to the Chrome OS.
Even Linux users are not always using Linux. I use Linux on my desktop primarily (netflix) I doubt that there is 60% usage at the local LUG. Most Linux enthusiasts are sysadmins. Sysadmins are not necessarily power desktop users. The people that use Linux do not even need it. A geek can use anything.
I think a good subject (a blind poll) ask sysadmins that use linux in their networks, what they use on the desktop.
btw..if they ever figure out the Netflix problem..which could just be an alternative service, I would be filled with Linux Desktop Zeal again!
My workstation is Linux with seamless virtual Windows XP. The setup has it's problems but it allows me to call on Win when it's necessary and for the most part, it works.